How to repair wood veneer on a table

Successfully repairing the wood veneer on a table gives you years of continued beauty and use from a piece of furniture that might have been destined for the dump. Fixing loose veneer edges, chipped veneer, table tops with missing veneer pieces, delaminated veneer panels, buckled and/or bubbled veneer or gouges is easier than you might think, and it's more cost-effective than replacing a table that is structural sound but not as beautiful as it once was.

Patch missing veneer

Measure the depth of the veneer on the table and select the type of veneer needed for the patch. Standard veneer is approximately 0.6 mm to 0.8 mm (1/40 inch to 1/32 inch) thick. Flexible veneer is approximately 0.4 mm (1/64 inch) thick and has a paper backing to give it strength. Because flexible veneer is available in widths of up to 1.2 m (48 inches), most table tops are made with it.

Clean the area to be patched by brushing away loose dirt and dust with a dry paintbrush and wiping with a damp cloth.

Even out the damaged veneer by cutting the damaged area parallel to the grain and cutting diagonal end cuts with a metal straight edge and craft knife.

Trace the shape of the veneer patch by placing a piece of paper over the cut area and drawing the outer edge with a pencil. Cut out the tracing with scissors.

Place the paper tracing on the new veneer and cut the veneer patch out with a craft knife. When placing the template, find an area of the replacement veneer that will best match the original veneer.

Apply a thin layer of hide glue to the area to be re-veneered and press the patch into place.

Apply gentle pressure against the new veneer with a stiff-bladed scraper in the opposite direction from the edge to keep the patch firmly seated.

Clamp scrap wood over the patch with C-clamps while the adhesive dries for 24 hours.

Loose or delaminated veneer

Clean the dirt and debris from between the veneer and the substrate by gently inserting a putty knife between the two materials and applying downward, outward pressure on the knife.

Fill a plastic hypodermic needle with hide glue and inject the glue between the veneer and the substrate in the loose area.

Use a stiff-bladed scraper to apply downward and outward pressure against the repaired veneer to squeeze out the excess glue.

Cover the repaired veneer with waxed paper and place a piece of scrap wood over it. Use C-clamps to secure the repaired area while the glue dries for 24 hours.

Filling small gouges or chips

Clean the chipped or gouged area of the veneer by brushing away any loose dust and dirt particles with a dry paintbrush and then running a damp cloth over the area.

Apply a amount of wood putty that is the same colour as the finished veneer to the small gouge or chip, using a small putty knife.

Scrape the putty knife over the repaired area to blend the putty and smooth the repaired table surface. Let the wood putty dry for 24 hours.

Finish-sand the repaired area with 320-grit sandpaper.


Large hypodermic needles can be purchased at most industrial supply houses. Hide glue and yellow wood glue are both good options for repairing veneer on tables, but yellow glue is harder to remove.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Paintbrush
  • Damp cloth
  • Metal straight edge
  • Craft knife
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Replacement veneer
  • Hide glue
  • Stiff-bladed scraper
  • Scrap wood
  • C-clamps
  • Putty knife
  • Plastic hypodermic needle
  • Waxed paper
  • Wood putty
  • 320-grit sandpaper
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About the Author

Based in Covington, Tenn., Cheryl Torrie has been writing how-to articles since 2008. Her articles appear on eHow. Torrie received a certificate in travel and tourism from South Eastern Academy and is enrolled in a computer information systems program at Tennessee Technology Center at Covington.